Mixing Up Labels In Shipping Department
We have had a rash of shipping labels getting switched on parts being sent to the customer. This obviously causes problems on the customer's assembly line. We are now under a CS2 containment for one of our customers. Any help solving human error in this type of setting would be appreciated.
7 Replies
Hello Barry,

My suggestions would be to issue a CAR (Corrective-Action Report), to the manager of the department. Doing this should identify the root cause of the issue. It may be that your shipping/labeling process needs to be revised. After you have identified the 5 Why's, the root cause, you may want to re-train the employees to ensure that the corrective action is proven to be effective.To me, this is the most important part; to make sure that the change is "effective". Your customer wants you to prove that you have resolved the issue. And last, have you considered maybe color coding the labels somehow? I found that was very effective at my place of employment 🙂!!!!

Good luck to you and I hope it works out!!!

When I mentioned issuing a CAR, it would also be the same as issuing a CAPA! Each employer I have worked for has called it something different, but it means the same🙂!

Best Regards

 And last, have you considered maybe color coding the labels somehow? I found that was very effective at my place of employment 🙂!!!!


I have thought about color coding each pack station along with the area that the paper work for each station travels through.

This morning I busted them with four different parts in the area and two people printing labels.

The Department Leaders are now developing a more robust training system.

I would suggest to utilise some of the Six Sigma tools ,eg maintaining 5S in your area. Also you may want to spend some time to look into your process activities to find out exactly why it occur, eg multi-cycle analysis. This can help to streamline your process and at the same time remove unnecessary process steps.

All the best !

Hi Barry,
I have experienced the same issue several times, and it's one of the easiest problems to find it's the root cause, but difficult to find a technical solution.  Training and behavioral solutions such as color-coding help but don't guarantee zero defects forward.  That being said, I can share some ideas from recent projects I have been part of.  First, I would look into eliminating steps.  If labels are being placed at different locations throughout the process you could investigate the possibility of printing shipping labels in advance, perhaps along with production barcode labels in order the eliminate the last step and reduce the risk of mislabeling when trying to match part numbers or serial numbers.  Secondly, look into adding a program (could be Excel VGA programming) that requires entries such as gross weight, part number, serial number, stamp number, etc and have the program match the entries against a database, if the data is within limits then print the label.  If a gross weight or stamp part number does not match, prompt the user to contact the supervisor.  Lastly, as containment action, you could add hand scanners to scan labels prior to shipping placing the final labels in order to ensure the serial numbers match. 
I just noticed that your post is from June!  It would be great if you could share some of the actions that you have implemented. 

Action items:
  • Added extra scales to the packing area. Two large and two small scales. These count parts in the containers.
  • We have minimized the number of parts flowing to the pack area. This reduces the amount of different parts being packed at the same time.
    • We now pack no more than three parts at once.
    • Previously were packing up to six different parts at once.
  • Updated the standard packing
    • Standardized counts instead of bulk packing.
      • Better lot control
      • Customer supplied returnable containers.
  • Label boxes with our routers prior to loading parts.
    • The person who places the final cover sheet on rechecks the parts to the label. (Secondary verification)
    • All routers and cover sheets have updated part pictures on them. Some unique features are identified.
  • 5S the area to eliminate movement of the packers and labelers.
  • Added a communication board to inform the department of quality or labeling issues.
We are completely off CS2 containment.